Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Blake Ragghianti, founder of Ridgemeade Farm, located in Fairview, PA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Ridgemeade, built in 1849, is a diversified, Regenerative farm. We raise animals, produce, and other pure foods the way nature intended, and we are proud to be entirely chemical, cruelty, and GMO-free. The animals are born and raised without antibiotics or hormones, and they spend their entire lives naturally and stress-free out on pasture. All of the farm's food is traceable, pure, and grown on nutrient-dense soil under traditional, time-honored methods.
Tell us about yourself
Our baby girl, Nova, was born on the summer solstice in 2021. Holding her fragile life in our hands, Danielle and I felt a pressing need to secure a clean, healthy, nutrient-dense food source to ensure her (and our) optimum health and longevity. Like any parents, we want the very best for our little ones, and in our opinion, that all starts with food because "You are what you eat." In fact, you are what you eat eats.
Not long before Nova was born, we had learned of the imminent threat of development of this historic 1849 farmstead by short-sighted, out-of-town developers with visions of cul-de-sacs and quick profits.
A notion was born in us - that we could simultaneously steward this bucolic piece of land while also creating nutrient-dense food security for our family in these times of increasing economic unrest. We quickly fell down a rabbit hole of research and education around Permaculture, Key Line Design, EcoSocial Design, Regenerative Agriculture, and Ancestral/Primal Health and Nutrition.
In the end, we learned a great deal about where our food comes from and how the twisted industrial food supply system actually works. We found ourselves visiting farms like Polyface and befriending mentors like Joel Salatin, Jean-Martin Fortier, Jim Gerish, Ray Archuletta, Richard Perkins, and Erin Benzakein.
Before long, we were standing on a green hill one misty spring morning overlooking historic Ridgemeade Farmstead and making plans. We built two large gardens for vegetables and flowers and added 50 laying chickens, 150 meat chickens, 42 turkeys, two pigs, two goats, and a couple of bee hives. In no time at all, we were sharing our diverse bounty with family, friends, and our community, and we knew then - Ridgemeade would be a truly meaningful life for our family.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Creating opportunities to facilitate the success and stewardship of our employees and customers in their own lives.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Separating business and family time.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Read, educate yourself, and find a mentor. Build a Master Mind of trusted resources. An informal "Advisory Board" of sorts that can guide you in accounting, legal matters, industry-specific issues, marketing, sales, etc.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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